The talented men and women who draw The Line it is Drawn every week often work on comic book projects, as well. Today, I’ll be reviewing four of them (two in the morning and two later in the afternoon). We continue with Erich Owen and Beast Academy. -BC
Beast Academy is a series of educational comic books designed to teach children math. It is written by Jason Batterson with art by Erich Owen and colors by Greta Selman. They are really quite exceptional. This one is for Grade 3.
I was always a big fan of Erich Owen’s artwork, but his work on Beast Academy is far beyond the already excellent work he was doing on The Line it is Drawn. This is just exceptional sequential work with strong character designs of the “math beasts” that are used to teach the kids math.
Check out this sample page from 3A (so far they have released 3A, spotlighting shape classification, skip-counting, and perimeter and area and 3B, spotlighting multiplication, perfect squares, and the distributive property)….
For what amounts to a big book of talking heads, more or less, Owen does a remarkable job making the whole thing seem fresh and interesting. The use of cute monsters is smart and the monsters have interesting designs.
Here’s another sample from 3A…
The writing from Batterson (and apparently Shannon Rogers co-wrote the book, although Rogers is uncredited in the actual printed volume) is engaging, although I personally cannot speak as to how effective it is in teaching children math. So I did a little research to see what parents out there are saying about how good of a teaching tool these books are (the way it works is that each book comes with a guide – the actual comic book aspect of the thing and a practice book where the kids do math assignments based on what they read in the guide) and the response that I have seen has been really tremendous. What seems to especially stand-out (and I think I can attest to that, just based on my general understanding of what third grade math was when I was a kid) is that these books don’t dumb the work down nor do they talk down to the child. They challenge the kid, but not in a way that the kid just can’t understand the work – it just makes it so that the kid has to actually put some work in to get things right. Parents out there seem to be pleased with this approach and I can see how it would work like that, so I guess these are good for kids!
But just as a comic book work, Erich Owen really does a great job with these books. I hope that they have a lot of success with these books.
If you want to buy a copy for YOUR kid (or your niece/nephew or whoever), check them out at the Beast Academy site here. It is $15 for the guide and $12 for the practice book. Seems reasonably priced to me but I honestly don’t know what books like these typically go for. Beast Academy 3C will be out soon!
If you want to check out Erich Owen’s Line it is Drawn work, he was one of the original artists on the feature, doing regular work until installment #8. Check out the archive here to see Erich’s standout work.
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